Krista Varady named 2023 UIC Distinguished Researcher of the Year in the Clinical Sciences

KINES professor Krista Varady, who studies the effectiveness and health benefits of intermittent fasting diets in treating obesity, was named UIC Distinguished Researcher of the Year in the Clinical Sciences.

The award was announced March 15 by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Office of Technology Management.

“Her research clearly has assisted a vast number of individuals in losing weight and lowering their risk of heart disease and diabetes,” said colleague Lisa Marie Tussing-Humphreys, KINES associate professor, in nominating Varady for the award.

Since 2008, Varady has studied intermittent fasting, also called time-restricted eating (eating without calorie constraints for a defined time period each day, followed by defined period of fasting) as an alternative to calorie-restrictive weight loss diets.

Her research found that time-restricted eating produced significant weight loss in people with obesity. A recent study showed that intermittent fasting combined with exercise is an effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Another study found no negative effects in the levels of certain reproductive hormones for pre- and post-menopausal women.

Varady’s work is currently funded by four grants from the National Institutes of Health, including one related to intermittent fasting in reducing the risks of colorectal cancer and another on time-restricted eating for long-term weight management.

A widely sought keynote speaker at scientific meetings, she produces 10 to 15 published papers a year. She also communicates the results of her research to the public through interviews with the press, broadcast news and podcasts and her Instagram account. Her first book, “The Every Other Day Diet,” published in 2014, has sold over 500,000 copies. Her next book, “The Fastest Diet,” will be published in 2023.

Other awards Varady has received include AHS Researcher of the Year, the American Society for Nutrition’s Mead Johnson Young Investigator Award and the Malaspina Scholar Award of the International Life Sciences Institute.